'''Thomas Whittemore''' (January 2, 1871 – June 8, 1950) was an American scholar and archaeologist who founded the Byzantine Institute of America
. His close personal relationship with Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
, founder and the first president of the Turkey#Republic of Turkey|Turkish Republic
, enabled him to gain permission from the Turkey|Turkish government
to start the preservation of the Hagia Sophia
mosaics in 1931.